It was a full weekend of solemnity, observances, and celebrations. The activities commemorated two related occurrences – services rendered to America by its many military veterans, and the 100th Anniversary – the Centennial – of the first Armistice Day on November 11, 1918, when World War I combat ended. South Boston suffered the loss of 103 “Fallen Heroes” during that conflict, also called “the War to End All Wars”. And last weekend’s activities proved that South Boston is forever grateful to its military veterans. We do not forget.
Did you know that South Boston’s Seaport District has created its own display of flags? It’s located on Seaport Common (or Green) and ends at the “Fallen Heroes” obelisk. Sponsors include WS Development, Vertex, and “envision” Bank. The flags on the Boston Common that proceed down its west-facing slopes from the Civil War Monument are commonly known as our “Sea of Flags”. South Boston Online will call ours a “Field of Flags”.
Saturday afternoon, the 10th, volunteers led by Mary Ryan and Kevin Conley, arranged a Centennial Observance in Excel High School that commemorated the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day – an Armistice that stopped the hostilities in World War I on November 11, 1918. Dave Falvey emceed the ceremonies. The Excel JROTC Color Guard did the honors. A blessing was called for and Congressman Lynch gave his thoughts. Then, Major Andrew Lee, USMC, solemnly read the names of South Boston’s World War I fallen heroes. Tommy Florentino played “Taps”. The BFD A Capella Singers sang “God Bless America”; the crowd joined in. A wreath was placed by the gallery of World War I fallen, and a long-lost photo of Michael J. “Mickey” Perkins was paced back in its gallery spot. A very affecting event!
That evening, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (the AWVC) hosted a Social at Sixth Gear for South Boston. The AWVC will soon begin preparing for the 2019 St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade – yes, it’s only about 17 weeks away – and are using two interns from Suffolk U. to help out. Their names are Sergio Bento, (a Junior in Marketing) and Sarah Speeches (a Senior in Marketing). Look for them.
On Sunday morning, the Fitzgerald Post and its guests marched from the Post to St. Brigid Church for a Veterans Day Mass. The Annual Flag Burning also took place at Fort Independence on Sunday morning, November 11, at 11 a.m., which was the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice – to the minute. Bill Spain and the CIA hosted the event under the Fort’s 25 x 38 foot garrison flag, a kilted Bill Wolf oversaw the ceremonial burning to the accompaniment of a bagpipe duo, and Sergeant-at-Arms John Killion actually fired the pyre of old, worn flags. Veteran John Scannell spoke; Sr. Florence (CSJ) read a tender and meaningful she had written herself.
There’s a bit of grim humor here. Burning old American flags into smoke and ashes is the courteous way to dispose of them. You may recall that many groups around the world used to burn American flags as a symbol of their hatred for the U.S. After they were told they were really being polite to us, they immediately stopped burning our flags.
It was quite a weekend – South Boston doesn’t forget. Ever.